We at CNY Healing Arts are big fans of and true believers in the range of benefits offered by Ardha Matsyendrasana. In Sanskrit, “ardha” means half, “matsya” means fish, “indra” means ruler, and “asana” means pose. Translate that to English and it reads: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.
It is helpful to warm up your hips for this most freeing, balancing, and energizing of seated twists. Try some hip openers like Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose), or Ustrasana (Camel Pose) before practicing this posture. If you have a spine or back injury, do not perform this pose unless under the supervision of an experienced yoga practitioner.
Check out our yoga class schedule by location – Syracuse, Rochester, Albany – and plan your next visit to CNY Healing Arts.
Getting Into Half Lord of the Fishes Pose:
Start in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Bend your right knee and place the foot flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left and position the sole of your right foot on the floor outside your left thigh. Bend your left knee and tuck the foot in near your right buttock. Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor.
Now, inhale and bring your upper left arm to rest on your right thigh. Exhale and twist at the waist, rotating towards the inside of your right thigh until it snugly meets your front torso. Place the palm of your right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock and press it firmly into the floor. Hint: your spine should stay straight in this posture.
Look out over your right shoulder, but don’t overturn the neck. Try to draw your spine longer and longer with each inhale, and deepen the twist a little more with each exhale. The twist should be distributed evenly throughout the entire length of your spine, so avoid concentrating it in any specific area like the neck or lower back. Be sure to keep your right foot flat on the floor. Hint: the twist should be in the waist, not the neck.
Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. End on an exhale and take a slight counter twist in the opposite direction. Now, release your legs, rest for several moments, and practice Ardha Matsyendrasana when twisting to the left. Hint: don’t always start by twisting to the right first, then the left – switch it up to keep balance in your routine.
Benefits of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose:
- Tones and strengthens abs and obliques
- Stretches and energizes the spine
- Open the shoulders, neck, and hips
- Increases flexibility, especially in hips and spine
- Cleanses the internal organs
- Improves digestion and elimination of wastes
- Relieves symptoms of backache, fatigue, menstrual discomfort and sciatica
- Stimulates liver, heart, lungs, kidneys and spleen
- Releases excess heat and toxins from organs and tissues